b'We recently came to faith young children should be in Church. (or came back to faith) and We hope if teens have been part of the my student does not understand life of the Church since their infancy, the fuss. then being involved in their teen years In this case, transparency is key. In thewill come naturally.same way you have pursued your faith,I am a strong Christian, but myyou must allow room for your teen topartner does not share my sense do this too. Talk about the steps youof priority for faith? How do we have taken, why it is so important tonavigate this territory?you and ask them to participate in theThis is one of the most difficult parts conversation by asking questions. Doof returning to church for familiesthey see a difference in how you interactwhen there is not agreement between with your family because of your newparentswhether they live together found or rededicated faith? Why is thisor apart. Persistence is important, but important now? What has been thenot at the cost of all relationships, most meaningful and life-changing partor when teens view faith itself as the for you? Then ask them to try it out point of contention in their family or with you! between parents. It can be tempting We go all the time, participate to compromise for family time over in every opportunity, but my teen faith. My encouragement to you is to doesnt feel connected. take the hour on a Sunday morning toIs it because they attend infrequentlyprioritize your own relationships with and havent had the chance to makeJesus, and trust that your example and friends? If so, this might require somecommitment will speak to your teen. encouragement and space from you By setting this example and precedent, We have attended Churchto allow them to prioritize going to you create space for your teen to choose occasionally, but we have neversmall group meetings at Church forto come with you when they are ready. participated in Christian education. an hour over spending an hour doingWhen traveling, our newly established homework. Letting your teens knowonline presence will keep your church In this case, balance your childstheir faith is ultimately more importantfamily accessible to your household.increased involvement in Churchthan a tenth of a point on a homeworkLets face it: the teen years are difficult life with your own commitment toassignment is a helpful way to showand complicated. They are difficult participate. You might say, I wouldhow much you value their personalfor parents, and they are difficult for really like to be more involved in whatsrelationships with God.happening at St. Martins, would youteens. The more likely challenge for be interested in trying out some of theirMaybe your teen feels like he doesntparents and teens in todays world is Christian Education stuff with me?know anyone. In this case, ask him ifdeciding how best to encourage Church Or start conversations about growinghe would be comfortable hanging outattendance and participation. Many in your relationship with God andwith one of our student ministers orparents will want to go all old school making a commitment as a family toinviting a friend to go to youth group orand put their foot down with a hearty, try to be more involved, but remember,participate in a mission trip. These canThats what we do in this family!you have to be in it with your students.be great first steps in feeling plugged inThat may work for a season or it may You cant ask them to do somethingand connecting to the group. And trustnot work at all, but either way it is you arent willing to do yourself.me, our student ministers are your probably not going to have the effect Involvement could involve Christianallies in this! that a parent wants, and it is unlikelyeducation, service or making sure weeklyIt would be easy to suggest a lot ofto be the kind of parenting to which attendance becomes a priority for reasons as to why your teen should bea teen will respond favorably over the your family. involved in a Church, but frankly, theyyears. A respectful conversation withare not much different than the reasonsan explanation will serve you better.12 '